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JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. THE BEAUTY OF THE LILIES By Dr. Charles C. Abbott. Illustrated from photographs of natural flowers by Pitcher and Manda. In almost every portion of the United States we are pretty sure, whenever we chance to ramble where there are flowers in bloom, to find some one or more rep- resentatives of the family of plants known as lilies. They may be rather inconspicuous, but there is not one that is not pretty, even if you have to use a magnifying-glass to discover its attractions. Many a true lily seems insignificant when other flowers are growing near, and few people would suppose that our troublesome greenbrier belongs to the family, as also do the onion and asparagus. Even the poisonous hellebore can claim kinship. But enough of these commonplace plants and " poor relations " of our grand Turk's- cap, which makes a better showing in the fields than the rankest growth of wild roses. I have seen acres of low-lying meadows ruddy with the bloom of the Lilium superbum, and recall one instance where the stalk was eleven feet high and with several fully expanded blossoms. In nature there are about half a hundred true species of lily, and " all are con- fined to the northern hemisphere." They are pretty equally divided between Europe, Asia, and North America, with some from Africa. Doubtless a more thorough botanical knowledge of the remoter parts of the world A FIELD OF CULTIVATED LILIES. 2IO The Beauty of the Lilies will bring many more to light. The typical forms, because of their beauty, very early attracted man's attention. Gerard figures in his " Herball " eight true species, together with some varieties, but the southern hemisphere has been in- vaded now by lilies under cultivation, and so the plant is practically a cos- ^\ J vti^ A ^ ) LtLIUM PYRENAICUM. mopolite ; for, as " garden escapes," they prove quite equal to holding their own against the rankest vegetation. The bloom of the large flowering lilies varies so that we may say there are three types of the blossom : trum- pet-shaped, an open form, or spread- ing, like the Lilium aura turn, and a modification of this, that hangs with the face of the flower downward — the so-called montagon type. It is to their gorgeous color, how- LILIUM SPECIOSA-RUBRUM. ever, as much as, if not more than, to their grace- ful form, that these flow- ers owe their universal attractiveness. Henry Ward Beecher has re- marked that a piece of color is as useful as a piece of bread, and ad- mitting this, it is not sur- prising that flowers have been cultivated for ages. In this instance, man's care, as in the case of THE SHELL LILY (LILIUM TESTACEUM). The Beauty of the Lilies 211 A GOLDEN LILY (LILIUM AURATUM). vegetable kingdom, nothing that ex- ceeds in magnificence some of the lilies originally grown in Japan, with their wealth of gold, ivory, and the blush of the glowing sunset. Thou- sands of flowers are more curiously constructed — intricate to a marvellous degree, as the orchids ; some have more pronounced shades of scarlet or crim- son ; but these are beautiful because of their general effect upon the land- scape, as parts of a complex whole, while the lily is a thing of beauty in itself. It is for this reason that, like the rose, it is pre-eminently popular. some food-plants, has not changed their nature so completely that the parent forms have been lost or can now no longer be recognized, as is true of our maize ; but advance has been effected in the line of nature's own efforts toward brilliant coloring, and the beauty of the lily has been increased by means of that curious experiment or practice, cross-fertilization. Certainly we can find, in the whole <%% AFRICAN LILIES. ANOTHER GOLDEN LILY. In color, as in size and form, lilies present a wide range. They may be pure white, yellow, orange, red or spotted. They meet all tastes ; therefore it may be said : Give me their taste in lilies, and I will tell you the fancies of individuals in other matters. In the heyday of youth, the brill- iant rosy and streaked and spotted blooms attract us ; 212 The Beauty of the Lilies to those of more thoughtful and maturer years, the snow-white blossoms seem best. A word here as to lilies proper and the water-lilies. Many people think them members of one great group, but if our readers will look in Gray's "Botany," they i rf ^ THE EASTER LILY (i.ILIUM HARKISl). will find the latter in the very beginning of the book and the lilies proper near the end of the list. It is one of the misfortunes of our language that many common names of our animals and plants are very often misleading. True lilies are not aquatic plants, and yet many of our native forms flourish best where the ground is always wet; but this is far from making them aquatic plants. At times, however, they are a feat- ure of flooded areas, and might mislead the uninformed in such matters. I have seen the water dotted with " dog-toothed violets" — true lilies — when only the blossoms nodded above the ripples of the temporary lake. Such a condition sug- The Beauty of the Lilies 21' EASTER LILY BULBS. gests a relationship with the pond-lilies, the snowy blooms of which star the dark waters of many an inland pool, from June to October. It would be pleasing, if space permitted, to trace the history of lilies, both wild and cultivated, in literature. Homer has much to say of them, and, with the rose, they are never omitted from any considerable body of poetry. We find the lily, of course, in Shakespeare, and, it is needless to add, in Scripture ; so that it is not a matter of surprise that the name has been adopted, very appro- priately, as one of special merit for our daughters. It needs but little ref- erence to families to see how often there are Lilies and Roses among the gentler sex. While the " lilies of the field " men- tioned in Matthew vi. 28, were anem- ones, it does not alter the fact that Solomon was never arrayed in any garments, or surrounded by draper- ies, that were comparable to the gor- geous lilies ; flowers that in perfec- THE TURKS-CAP. THE BATAVIA LILY. tion have everything to commend them. White lilies stand as symbols of in- nocence in folklore, and as such are es- pecially devoted to festivals of The Vir- gin. " In Italian art, a vase of lilies stands by the Virgin's side, with three flowers crowning their green stems. The flower is generally the large white lily of our gardens, the pure white petals sig- nifying her spotless body and the golden anthers within typifying her soul spark- line with divine light."